News / Europe

    Millions March in France Against Terrorism

    • L-R: Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France's Francois Hollande, Germany's Angela Merkel, the EU's Donald Tusk, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas march during a unity rally in Paris January 11, 2014.
    • A general view shows hundreds of thousands of French citizens taking part in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris, Jan. 11, 2015.
    • Thousands of people gather at the Place de la Republique in Paris, France, Jan. 11, 2015.
    • Police block a street to hold back the public demonstration near Place de la Republique in Paris, Jan. 11, 2015.
    • Charlie Hebdo newspaper staff march with relatives of Jewish victim of the koscher supermarket, Michel Saada, in Paris, France, Jan. 11, 2015.
    • Protesters gather with posters 'I Am Charlie' at the Place de la Republique in Paris, Jan. 11, 2015.
    • French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) at the Elysee Palace before attending a solidarity march in the streets of Paris, Jan. 11, 2015.
    • Security officers patrol the Place de la Republique in Paris, Jan. 11, 2015.
    • Thousands of people began filling France’s iconic Place de la Republique, Jan. 11, 2015, in a rally of defiance and sorrow to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence.
    • French President Francois Hollande embraces German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, as she arrives at the Elysee Palace, Paris, Jan. 11, 2015.
    • Thousands of people fill the iconic Place de la Republique in Paris, Jan. 11, 2015.
    • People holding a poster reading "Quick more democracy everywhere against barbarism" take part in a solidarity march in the streets of Paris, Jan. 11, 2015.
    VOA News

    World leaders joined nearly 4 million people in the streets of Paris and around France Sunday, in solidarity with the victims of a terror spree last week that killed 17 people.

    More than 40 heads of state and government joined French President Francois Hollande in linking arms for a brief walk through Paris. Immediately to Hollande's left walked German Chancellor Angela Merkel and to his right Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. France intervened to help fight Islamist rebels there two years ago to the day.

    Other leaders included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley represented the United States at Sunday's event.

    French officials said it was the largest street demonstration in the country's history.

    Late Sunday, the Interior Ministry said at least 3.7 million people demonstrated across France. A ministry spokesman said that 1.2 million to 1.6 million people had marched in Paris and about 2.5 million people in other cities around the country.

    Watch video of the Paris march by VOA's Al Pessin:

    French March for Freedom, Solidarityi
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    Al Pessin
    January 11, 2015 9:35 PM
    Across France, nearly four million people – over a million in Paris alone – took part in unity rallies Sunday to express solidarity with the victims of last week’s terror attacks by Islamic extremists that left 17 people dead. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from Paris that marchers took to the streets to reaffirm democratic values in the face of the bloodshed.


    Several thousand police and military forces were deployed to the streets as well.

    A massive crowd remained outside for hours, filling the the route between two of the capital's major plazas, Place de la Republique and Place de la Nation.

    The Paris terrorist attacks are the worst in recent French history. They have left many here - like teacher Edith Gaudin - in shock.

    "I'm fed up with all the hatred in the world. I can't stand people hating each other. More than just free expression, I want people to live together and to accept each other, even if they are different,” Gaudin said.

    After world leaders left the march, Hollande stayed to greet survivors of the Charlie Hebdo attack and their families.

    Later Sunday night, Hollande and Netanyahu attended a memorial ceremony at the Grand Synagogue in Paris for the victims of Friday's terror attack at a kosher supermarket.

    At the synagogue, Netanyahu thanked French citizens, including Muslims, for speaking out against terrorism and anti-Semitism.

    Mamoun Abdelali, an imam from the Paris area, was among many Muslims at the rally denouncing militant Islam. The assailants, he said, didn't avenge the Prophet Muhammad, they insulted and dishonored him.

    Another Muslim, 17-year-old Amina Tadjouri, brandished a Jewish newspaper that read: "I am Jewish, I am Charlie."

    "I'm here to say that we are not OK with (the assailants). We totally disagree, Jews and Muslims, we refuse people to be killed for that. Everyone is allowed to talk, everyone is allowed to say what he wants to say…and vive la France," Tadjouri said.

    Acts of terrorism

    French officials have called the January 7 massacre at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo and a series of deadly attacks that followed acts of terrorism.

    Twelve people, including eight journalists and two policemen, were massacred Wednesday at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine known for poking fun at all religions, including Islam. Two Islamic militant brothers, Cherif and Said Kouachi, carried out the attack. They were ambushed and killed by French police on Friday.

    A video believed to show Amedy Coulibaly, who French police said is tied to the fatal shooting of a policewoman and a deadly siege of a kosher grocery store in the days after the newspaper was targeted, emerged posthumously on social media Sunday.

    This screengrab taken on Jan. 11, 2015, from a video released on Islamist social networks shows a man allegedly claiming to be Amedy Coulibaly.This screengrab taken on Jan. 11, 2015, from a video released on Islamist social networks shows a man allegedly claiming to be Amedy Coulibaly.
    x
    This screengrab taken on Jan. 11, 2015, from a video released on Islamist social networks shows a man allegedly claiming to be Amedy Coulibaly.
    This screengrab taken on Jan. 11, 2015, from a video released on Islamist social networks shows a man allegedly claiming to be Amedy Coulibaly.

    In it, a man describes how the killings were coordinated as retribution for the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State air campaign, in which France is a partner.

    Following the attack on the grocer Friday, in which four hostages were killed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would welcome Jewish immigrants from France.

    Security is expected to remain tight across the nation for weeks as investigators continue their hunt for Coulibaly's girlfriend.

    Police originally suspected that 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, described as armed and dangerous, was at the supermarket with her partner. But Turkish officials say the woman entered Turkey January 2 and is now likely in Syria.

    Coulibaly was an associate of brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi. The siblings have been identified as perpetrators of Wednesday's attack on the staff of Charlie Hebdo.

    As security forces closed in on the brothers Friday outside Paris, Said Kouachi told reporters by phone that he received training and financing from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. American, European and Yemeni sources confirmed he trained with AQAP, which has publicly praised the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

    Summit announced

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced from Paris Sunday that President Barack Obama would invite world leaders to Washington February 18 for a summit on countering violent extremism.

    Also on Sunday, German police said they detained two men suspected in an arson attack against the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper, which republished controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad seen in Charlie Hebdo. No one was injured.

    The Belgian newspaper Le Soir was also evacuated Sunday after it received an anonymous bomb threat. The paper republished cartoons from Charlie Hebdo, which was well-known for its provocative and irreverent tone that frequently targeted religious figures.

    Lisa Bryant contributed to this report from Paris. Some material for this report came from Reuters, AP and AFP.

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    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 13, 2015 1:15 PM
    "Millions March in France Against Terrorism"

    I fail to see the point of it. There's a lot of things that happen in Europe that make no sense to me. Considering the circumstances Europeans find themselves in I wonder how much of it now makes sense to them.

    by: BeerWolf from: Ireland
    January 12, 2015 9:51 AM
    I sincerely hope the EU will stop this PC bullshit and completely abolish ALL of Sharia Law from Europe as it breeds institutionalized thinking, and the fact no country should have two separate systems...

    Additionally, all hate preachers should be IMMEDIATELY expelled from the country. Not jailed, or cautioned... IMMEDIATELY. Reasons being that if you jail them, they'd just carry on inside with criminals, or force them underground with a caution... it is these preachers that prey on easily influenced young minds.

    by: Rose Marie Paul from: Portland. OR
    January 12, 2015 9:32 AM
    I'm so tired of these people who use their religion as an excuse to kill others. If they think their going to be rewarded after death they are wrong. This killing one religion over another because they think their better is insane ALL MY RELATIONS

    by: James from: Miamisburg, OH
    January 12, 2015 9:26 AM
    I know its wrong to kill in the name of your religion, but let's not forget that the US has done the same, how you think American was built? So many blacks killed and injustice done to them. The native Americans, oh yes GOD bless America. Pioneers hell no, more like marauders.

    by: Larry from: NY
    January 12, 2015 6:58 AM
    Marching doesn't do anything. Marching is useless. When will the world finally rise up and blast the MFers once and for all? Never the world has become a bunch of soft, PC cowards who's rather not offend anyone than take a stand against terrorism.

    by: Wanneh from: USA
    January 12, 2015 5:48 AM
    It's sad these guys will kill people in the name of their God. Did their Koran says they should kill? Or did it say to love everyone? How can you kill children, women, men in name of Allah? It doesn't make sense. My heart goes to the people of France

    by: Paul Delfornia
    January 12, 2015 5:47 AM
    Until the LIBERAL French leaders grow a pair attacks will continue there. The police are NOT armed,, Muslims are allowed to do anything they want ie. promote hate and violence and build a mosque on every corner making it easy to spread their message. The French people must rise up and stop this terror.

    by: ali from: Somaliland, Berbera.
    January 12, 2015 12:27 AM
    France is a strong country that can withstand terrorist acts on its own. French people also have the right to continue living their way of life undisturbed. Having said that, France should help countries like Somalia, who don't have the means and resources to fight another dangerous militants called Al Shabab.

    by: ali from: Somaliland, Berbera.
    January 12, 2015 12:27 AM
    France is a strong country that can withstand terrorist acts on its own. French people also have the right to continue living their way of life undisturbed. Having said that, France should help countries like Somalia, who don't have the means and resources to fight another dangerous militants called Al Shabab.

    by: X from: USA
    January 11, 2015 10:58 PM
    "President Barack Obama would invite world leaders to Washington February 18 for a summit on countering violent extremism."

    Welcome to the birth of UNATCO.
    In Response

    by: Kathleen Trpoxell from: Kentucky USA
    January 12, 2015 9:13 AM
    I wouldn't waste the fuel to come to the USA. You will be bored with tirades about the wonders of Obama, a study group will be formed ... whose results may appear with 2-5 years if they agree with Obama's world view of doing nothing in the face of Islamic terrorism, and results can support the likes of Senator Feinstein in embarrassing political opponents, the USA and its people.

    Meet in Europe or the Middle East and get something accomplished. Nothing of substance in the discussion or solution of this problem will come from American for another two years , if then.
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